Since the Autumn 2018 Box included a crochet project, I decided to share a few extra tips to use along side the crochet guide included in the box. I’ve also put together some short little videos of each of the stitches needed for the Leaf Coasters, as I think seeing how the yarn and hook moves will help make things clearer than just the step-by-step photos!
Holding the Hook and Yarn
Both myself and my friend that was helping me out with the crochet photos are right handed, so all of the photos and videos are from a right-handed perspective. We hold the hook in our right hand, and the yarn (that’s still attached to the ball), and the crochet in our left hand. However, if you are left handed, you can mirror all of the steps and work in the opposite direction. There’s lots of great guides and videos available online to help with this if you search for left handed crochet!
You can hold the hook either like a pencil, or a knife – choose whatever feels most comfortable for you. I use the pencil grip.
Your other hand will need to hold onto to the yarn so that it can both manipulate it, loop it over the hook etc, and also control the tension.
There are a number of ways you can hold the yarn, and again it’s what feels best for you. You can see some helpful diagrams of different methods here: https://www.redheart.com/learn/articles/how-hold-yarn-crochet-hook
Below is a photo of how I personally hold onto the yarn as I crochet.
A note about tension
The tension of your yarn determines how tight or loose your stitches end up. As you crochet, you will find that if you pull the yarn with your non-hook hand, you will tighten up the loops on your hook. A mistake I made when I started to crochet was that I assumed you should always be pulling the yarn taught so that the tension was tight. However, this actually makes the crochet a lot harder! My stitches were ending up really small, resulting in it being a struggle to get the hook into the previous row and pull new stitches through. I was also getting a cramp in my left hand as I worked. My experienced crocheting friend spotted what I was doing and told me to relax my hands. Yes, you need to try and keep the yarn tension consistent, but it definitely doesn’t need to be pulled taught all the time. The hook should move easily and freely through the loops you are creating, and then it’ll be much easier to crochet!
The following videos demonstrate an example of each of the stitches the Autumn Leaf Coasters use. I hope you find them a helpful additional to the crochet guide included in the box!
Autumn 2018 Leaf Coaster Pattern Trouble-shooting
Below are some extra tips on any areas my pattern testers, who were complete crochet beginners, ran into trouble when making the leaf coasters.
The second row (steps 3-9)
Both of my pattern testers ran into a problem on row 2 of the instructions. By the time they got to step 6, they only had about a quarter of the chain left to work along, when they should have been just before the middle. The problem was that they were skipping stitches in the original chain as they were working along it, probably because the chain does like to twist around a bit making it hard to see each stitch. To help avoid this, I suggest that after you’ve completed the chain in step 2, you take a look at the chain and try and identify each of the 21 stitches that make it up. Then, as you work along the row, keep counting how many stitches you have remaining in the chain after each new stitch you create.
After step 3, there should be 19 chain stitches remaining, after step 4, 18 remaining etc. The number remaining in your chain should keep reducing by 1 after each stitch, except after your decrease in step 6, where it will reduce by 2 (there should be 9 chain stitches remaining after step 6).
If you find there is no longer enough chain stitches left after a step, you’ve likely skipped ahead along the chain when you did the previous stitch. Undo your last stitch by removing the hook and slowly pulling the yarn until the entire stitch has unravelled and there is a loop remaining. Pass the hook through this loop and you’re ready to try the stitch again.
Counting out the stitches in the chain frequently should hopefully avoid this happening though, but I’m sorry if it gets a bit tedious!
It took my testers a number of attempts to get row 2 complete – undoing back to the just the chain quite a few times. However, they did get there, and the following rows are much easier as it is far more obvious where you need to work each stitch when your previous row isn’t a chain!